Go back in time one week. The online horror community was buzzing with support to get out to the theater and see the historic UNRATED release of Adam Green’s Hatchet 2. Fans blogged and vlogged and tweeted how this would be our chance to rise up and show the movie business that there was demand for unrated horror. 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams director Tim Sullivan sent out a letter to several news outlets pleading with fans to spend their money on Hatchet 2 and to resist the temptations of internet piracy. AMC, a sizable movie chain, was being universally praised for their guts in taking such a risk by offering such a wide release to Hatchet 2. It was a dream come true for hardcore horror fans.
By Sunday night the dream seemed to be crumbling. By Monday morning, it had all but died. AMC pulled Hatchet 2 from theaters, citing performance as their motivation. Speculation, accusations, and bitterness flew around the horror community, with people pointing fingers at the theaters, the MPAA, the distributor, even the fans for not getting off of their butts and supporting the unrated horror movement. Adam Green, much to his credit, took the admirable stance that it was a crappy situation but playing the blame game wasn’t going to help anybody. He was just glad to have seen his movie in theaters, as he had intended. Whatever your thoughts on the Hatchet 2 debacle might be, there is no denying that last weekend was an historic event for horror cinema. The kind of thing that comes along once every few DECADES! Now, for better or for worse, that time has passed….
…or has it?
The unrated remake of I Spit on Your Grave opens today. Also being shown in AMC theaters, although on about sixty fewer screens than Hatchet 2, I Spit on Your Grave offers horror fandom a rare second chance to make a lasting impression on the movie industry. Eight screens nationwide are taking a chance by showing this brutal, horrific story of assault, rape, and revenge, and they are doing it without the gracious blessing of the MPAA. Lightning is striking twice, giving the hardcore horror fan ANOTHER opportunity to go see a film from our beloved genre in the form the director originally intended. AMC is also being given a second chance to stick to their guns and continue supporting an unrated film despite external pressures.
So this is a rallying cry for the horror community. We have a second chance to make the statement we could have, SHOULD have made with Hatchet 2. We can pack the eight theaters in the country with the balls to support I Spit On Your Grave with wall to wall horror fans and make the industry see that unrated horror has a valid place among the cinemas of America. As an independent horror filmmaker, the idea that I might be able to enjoy the same freedom with my future work is incredibly exciting. As a horror fan, having the choice to see the films I want, the way I want to see them: in the theater. I don’t want to have to wait a year for an unrated DVD release of a film that has forty five seconds of blood spatter, or five seconds of sexual thrusting) which was forcibly removed by the censorship of the MPAA and a theater industry that is unwilling to risk showing unrated or NC-17 films. I was at the Hatchet 2 screening in Chicago last Sunday afternoon, and I LOVED IT! It was so good to be able to simply sit back with my wife and enjoy a good splattergore film without feeling the censoring blade of the MPAA gouging at the screen. Instead of leaving the theater thinking “That was pretty cool. Can’t wait for the DVD so I can actually see it!” I left fulfilled.
And isn’t fulfilling the audience’s expectations of entertainment the job of both filmmakers and theater owners?
So if you share the same dream of seeing more unrated films in theaters that Adam Green, Tim Sullivan, hundreds of filmmakers, thousands of fans, and I share, then I beg you: please go see I Spit on Your Grave this weekend.
Theater locations and the unrated trailer for I Spit on Your Grave can be seen online at http://www.ispitonyourgravemovie.com/